Sept 7 2017

Your Social Media Strategy – Taking Better Photos

Are you a small business owner struggling to increase their online presence? Sit down, grab a coffee, clear the next 5 minutes of your day. Ready?

Let's talk about social media.

Let me tell you something you already know: as a business, having a strong social media presence will enable you to connect with your current & future customers. A solid social media fan base doesn't usually happen overnight and, since every business is unique, you might not know where to start. In this series, I’ll attempt to help you develop a basic strategy by breaking down the core concepts of your social media presence. This week, we’ll get you started with creating quality visual content for your favorite social media platform.

Visual Content

In an age where average users might spend more than half their mobile time on social media & entertainment, the quality of content you deliver to them must compete with a constant barrage of high caliber visuals already present in their social feed. Thankfully for small businesses, most modern phone cameras are good enough to start creating visually striking social media content.

How do you increase the visual quality of your photos to capture your audience? Getting started is as easy as 1-2-3:

  • Lighting. Avoid your camera’s flash and seek soft or diffused natural light. A large window in your shop/office that allows in indirect sunlight will usually be your best pal. If your subject must remain outdoors due to its size, a slightly overcast day will often yield richer colors than a sunny one. When taking a photo for your page, take a minute to do an online image search and try to analyze the photos you immediately like. Use them as your starting point and don’t be afraid to get creative. If you don’t think you can recreate your favorite picture’s lighting: try the angle!
  • Angle. Ever noticed how you often default to the same “camera-holding” stance? As the old proverb goes: variety is the spice of life! Crouching down will make your subject look bigger and more imposing while climbing up on a chair to look down will make your subject appear smaller. You’ll be surprised by how different your photos will look just by moving around a bit. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing vertical images taken at the exact same chin-height. Use this to your advantage and create capturing imagery by going horizontal!
  • Framing. Now that you’re ready to try different angles, let’s discuss “The Golden Rule” AKA the rule of thirds. Dating back to the late 1700s, this “rule” gives us a simple way to arrange striking visual imagery: divide your image into 9 equal parts by using 4 equally spaced vertical (2) & horizontal (2) lines; then place the important elements along those lines or at their intersections.

If you’re a beginner, this will be your new weapon of choice. Not only is it practically effortless, it’s pretty much guaranteed to give you results with a certain je ne sais quoi. If you’re taking your photos on an iPhone, let me get you started with the Golden Rule by giving you a quick iPhone “hack”: The Grid!

  • Open Settings
  • Tap “Photos & Camera”
  • Find “Grid” and toggle it on.

There’s no shame in trying multiple variations of the above (Lighting + Angle + Framing). As a matter of fact, taking a large quantity of shots and following it up with a small triage is a necessary part of the process. You’ll quickly realize you dodged a bullet by not being forced to use an accidentally blurry photo and, as a bonus, you’ll have extra photos to use on days where you’re having a content drought.

Regarding video content

The same techniques can be used when creating video content for your preferred social media platform, however, investing in a small portable tripod for your phone will allow you the avoid the undesirables of phone videos: focus issues, camera shake and uncooperative human-tripods. Furthermore, if you’re creating a short video to reach potential new customers, try to plan your first three seconds very carefully. If their curiosity isn’t immediately piqued, they’ve already moved on to the next item on their feed.

Closing words

By increasing the visual quality of your social media images, you’re telling your customers that you care. When someone new lands on your page, the quality of your photos will speak for itself. As a business owner, how much do you value a good first impression?

To quote the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson: “Your first 10 000 photographs are your worst.”. So, don’t give up, learn from your mistakes and start creating original content today.

Oh, and clean your phone’s camera lens. There’s a finger print on it.

[Still don’t think you’ll have the time to work on your social media content? We completely understand. Websolutions.ca offers social media management services (among other online marketing solutions) to get your business on the right track!]

About The Author

Author: Jean Sebastien

Jean Sebastien. Social Media & SEO Manager

JS is a certified Google AdWords specialist, social media manager, photo editor and sourdough baker. He's here to chew bubble gum and help clients reach their on-line potential...and he's all out of bubble gum.
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